"Have you started your pup?"
"Has Spot been on the sheep yet?"
"Do you like him?"
The answer is Yes. I have started Spot on the sheep. He is only a little over nine months old, though, so "starting" him hardly seems like the right word to use. I have exposed him to interacting with sheep, I guess would be more precise. He and the sheep and I, doing the dance. Oh my. It's fun. I am enjoying every minute of it. It's hard to not like Spot. He's happy, he's friendly, he likes everyone, 2-legged and 4-legged. This is his happy face:
|Spot June 2013|
Right now I'm not drawing any conclusions. I'm not giving him any real commands, but just not letting him harass the sheep. The lesson learned right now is to have the appropriate sheep and facilities for starting your dog. I tried to start him on the sheep that we use for our advanced dogs and that did not go well. I am so fortunate to have some place to take Spot to get a few beginner sessions in, on broke sheep. Nice happy broke sheep who are used to doing this dance with beginner dogs. They know the ropes. Whew. Speaking of ropes, today we added a long line. Oh my did that help. Just a little power steering for me, not controlling his method but being able to stop the action when necessary.
What is he like? It's hard for me to say. He's a keen puppy who has a lot of want-to. He has some really nice moves. It's really too soon and I am keeping my mind as open as possible to let his instinct develop.
That said, we are going to take a couple weeks off of working, so that his maturity can develop some more. I think it will only benefit the both of us. We've gotten our start, and we'll pick it up again soon.
'Til then...the answer is YES.